March 27, 2024
AirBit Club cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme
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Three AirBit Club Defendants Sentenced for Money Laundering and Fraud in New York

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is currently moving forward with the sentencing process for key individuals involved in the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme known as AirBit Club.

On October 3, the U.S. attorney’s office for New York announced the sentencing of three of the five remaining defendants in the AirBit case, namely Scott Hughes, Cecilia Millan, and Karina Chairez. This follows their guilty pleas to charges related to money laundering and other offenses in the AirBit case earlier in 2023.

Hughes, an attorney accused of laundering around $18 million in fraudulently obtained AirBit Club funds, received an 18-month prison sentence. Millan, a senior-level promoter of AirBit Club, was sentenced to five years behind bars. Chairez, another senior-level promoter of the scheme, was given a one-year-and-one-day prison term.

Additionally, Hughes was ordered to serve three years of supervised release, while Millan and Chairez were each sentenced to three years and three months of supervised release, respectively.

The AirBit Club scheme was launched in late 2015 and was marketed as a multi-level marketing club within the cryptocurrency industry. The defendants used persuasive presentations to deceive investors into believing that AirBit Club offered guaranteed daily returns through cryptocurrency mining and trading. In reality, instead of funding the promised crypto operations, which had never existed, $100 million of investors’ funds ended up in the hands of the founders and promoters.

Despite some users raising concerns about withdrawal delays and hidden fees in early 2016, AirBit Club continued its fraudulent activities until 2020. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, in announcing the sentences, emphasized that Hughes, Millan, and Chairez each played a pivotal role in perpetuating the AirBit Club Ponzi scheme. Williams stated that, at the highest level of promotion, Millan and Chairez actively sought investments from unsuspecting and hardworking investors, deceiving them to enrich themselves. He further added that today’s sentences send a strong message that individuals involved in cryptocurrency investment schemes, not just those at the top, will face significant consequences for their actions.

These sentences follow the sentencing of AirBit Club co-founder Pablo Rodriguez, who received a 12-year prison term in late September 2023. Another co-founder, Dos Santos, who pleaded guilty to charges including wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering, and bank fraud conspiracy, is scheduled for sentencing on October 4, 2023.

Santos will be the final defendant to be sentenced out of a total of six individuals connected to the AirBit Club case. Jackie Aguilar, who pleaded guilty in February 2023, reportedly passed away in May, a few weeks prior to her scheduled sentencing.

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